Conflict can make life miserable. Arguing can lead to hostility, hurt feelings and alienation. Disagreements between people are bound to happen from time to time. We all have opinions. Sometimes those opinions are not popular with family, friends or coworkers.
Have you ever stepped back from a disagreement and realized you were wrong? Were you too hard on your teenager? Did you make your wife feel insignificant by not listening to her opinion? Did you quarrel with your aging parent? Did you dispute a missed deadline with an employee and later discover that you were wrong about the date?
Admitting you are wrong is not an easy thing to do. Pride and self-esteem get in the way, making it difficult to offer a heartfelt apology. So, just how do we master the art of sincere apology after an argument? These tips can be your guide, and help you through the awkwardness of admitting you were wrong.
Arguments erupt quickly. If you’re challenged when you believe you’re right, you immediately become defensive. From that point on, you lose the ability to listen objectively to the other person’s point of view. It’s hard to approach your adversary after the cooling off period and admit you may have over-reacted, or even worse, that you may have been wrong. The first step when making an apology is acknowledging you were wrong. The second step is admitting it to yourself, and the other party.
Just Do It: Say You’re Sorry
When you hurt or humiliate someone with your words, express remorse for doing so. It doesn’t matter what the subject of the argument was; your words were damaging. Tell the person you were out of line, you are truly sorry for the way you handled yourself and for the way you made him or her feel.
Deliver the Apology in Person
Apologies are personal. If you owe someone an apology, do it in person. An email or text message is not appropriate or meaningful. A face-to-face meeting will let the person know you are sincere.
Resolve the Situation
Do whatever you can do to make things better. Start over, and listen to your teenager’s point of view. Tell your father that you value his and wisdom, and don’t be so quick to dismiss what he has to say. Let your employee know that you have updated your calendar, and you intend to pay closer attention to deadline details to avoid further misunderstandings. Remember to keep resolutions to avoid arguments in the future.